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The Math Error

By Greg L | 13 June 2007 | 51st HOD District | 41 Comments

At the 51st District Convention, the elections committee report showed there were more votes than qualified delegates in three precincts.  In two of those precincts Faisal Gill won (Lake Ridge and Penn), and in another, Julie Lucas won (Civic Center).  When RPV was asked how to address these “overvotes”, their answer was that these precincts should be “thrown out”, because it’s not possible to determine among the ballots cast which were legitimate and which are not.  The elections committee chose to disregard the issue of overvotes completely, arguing that had they complied with RPV’s instructions, it wouldn’t have changed the outcome.  Well, not quite.

Julie Lucas has been asking for a copy of the credentials committee “check-in sheet” ever since the convention, and Michele McQuigg had been refusing to do so up until last Tursday.  You’d normally think that it’s not a state secret to tell someone who was a candidate in a convention who is recorded as showing up there, but McQuigg felt she needed to hear from RPV counsel before doing so.  That check-in sheet was turned over, and on Friday it got cross-referenced with the reference sheet used by the elections committee, which shows how many in each precinct were eligible to vote, and Julie’s folks discovered an error.  The kind of error that would change the outcome of the convention.

When delegates checked in in the morning, they did so alphabetically.  On the sheet covering the “Win” through “Z” portion of the alphabet, there were three delegates checked-in for the Civic Center precinct, but on the elections committee reference sheet, only one of those was recorded.  Later on when the elections committee tried to determine where overvotes occurred, they incorrectly included Civic Center because two delegates weren’t included in the count for the Civic Center precinct, giving the incorrect appearance that an overvote happened there when it actually didn’t.  Despite about four hours to dig out what went wrong, this wasn’t discovered during the convention, and that’s understandable because it certainly appears that this was nothing other than human error.

Julie appealed to the 51st Legislative District (comprised of Tom Kopko and no one else) and Pat O’Leary to correct this addition error, and they have refused.  Not only are they reporting overvotes in their election results, but after being informed of an apparently honest mistake, they are refusing to correct it.  How’s that for a fair process?

Why would this make any difference?  Because if Lake Ridge and Penn are thrown out as RPV recommended, Julie Lucas would have won the convention and now would be the Republican nominee for the 51st Legislative District.  Instead, after being shown documentation about a mathematical error which could put in serious jeopardy the legitimacy of Faisal Gill’s nomination, they’ve put their fingers in their ears and are babbling nonsense.  Is there any wonder that the 11th Congressional District Committee might want to evaluate this?

Congratulations to Julie Lucas, the legitimate winner of the 51st District Convention, and the person who rightly should be the Republican nominee for the 51st District in the House of Delegates.

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  1. Mitch Cumstein said on 13 Jun 2007 at 3:31 pm:
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    I’d forgotten that it was RPV’s recommendation (requested by the election committee) to throw out those precincts. Why bother to ask for advice if you only intend to use it if it’s favorable to you (or your preferred candidate)?

    I honestly can’t imagine how Kopko has a leg to stand on here. If a Republican candidate loses a close race in November and a recount later determines that they actually won, would Kopko demand that the original, incorrect totals be used to declare the winner? I highly doubt it.

    The bottom line is: RPV told them to throw out the overvoted precincts. They chose to ignore this advice due to the fact that it would not change the outcome. Now that it obviously will, I see no valid reason to reject RPV’s recommendation and allow the votes in two obviously mishandled precincts to count.

    I suspect that the Kopko crowd will scream voter-disenfranchisement. But I have to wonder which side these folks were on with respect to Florida in 2000.

  2. Anonymous said on 13 Jun 2007 at 4:11 pm:
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    From what I understand, RPV made that ruling not even knowing the results, only that precincts had been overvoted. So the recommendation could not have favored a candidate since they were unaware of even which precincts were in question.

  3. Mitch Cumstein said on 13 Jun 2007 at 4:43 pm:
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    Exactly, Anonymous. RPV had no idea how it would impact the outcome. It simply advised that overvoted precincts should be discounted. At this point, in order to demonstrate that no bias toward a particular candidate exists, the only reasonable response to the appeal is to follow RPV’s unbiased opinion and throw out the overvoted precincts. Anything else reeks of bias on the part of the Chairman and is totally unacceptable.

  4. James Young said on 13 Jun 2007 at 5:19 pm:
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    There were three precincts with overvotes. Throw out all three, and Gill still wins.

    Instead, you choose to cherry-pick to achieve your preferred outcome.

    Congratulations, Greg. You are now Al Gore.

  5. John Smith said on 13 Jun 2007 at 5:33 pm:
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    This is cherry-picking how?

    The 11th district committee should make sure each precinct has the correct number of delegates who signed in to compare to the final tallies.

    This leaves us with two overvoted precincts.

    Per RPV rules, the two precincts (Lake Ridge and Penn) are thrown out.

  6. Mitch Cumstein said on 13 Jun 2007 at 5:58 pm:
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    What part of simple math do you not understand, Jim? Civic Center precinct was not overvoted. They said it was on the day of the Convention, but this was done in error. There is no “cherry-picking.” If all overvoted precints (Lake Ridge and Penn) are thrown out, as recommended by RPV, Lucas wins. So now Greg is Al Gore because he, like many of us) believe that Kopko shoukd both acknowledge an obvious and irrefutable clerical error and then follow the recommendation of the State party? Really?

  7. Had to Say said on 13 Jun 2007 at 6:13 pm:
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    James Young is such a sore loser. He will throw a temper tantrum if Gill is not the actual winner in this. I was going to support Michelle, but I’m now having serious doubts about her.

  8. Grow a pair said on 13 Jun 2007 at 6:30 pm:
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    James are you dense??? The ballots were unsealed and checked after the convention and there was NOT an over vote in Civic Center. Why are you still claiming taking out all the over voted precincts still makes Faisal the winner, or do you just suck at math?

  9. Jonathan Mark said on 13 Jun 2007 at 7:38 pm:
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    “”"”When delegates checked in in the morning, they did so alphabetically. On the sheet covering the “Win” through “Z” portion of the alphabet, there were three delegates checked-in for the Civic Center precinct, but on the elections committee reference sheet, only one of those was recorded. Later on when the elections committee tried to determine where overvotes occurred, they incorrectly included Civic Center because two delegates weren’t included in the count for the Civic Center precinct, giving the incorrect appearance that an overvote happened there when it actually didn’t. Despite about four hours to dig out what went wrong, this wasn’t discovered during the convention, and that’s understandable because it certainly appears that this was nothing other than human error.”"”

    I am not understanding what happened.

    The three people who checked in were valid voters, right? And they voted, right? And someone didn’t include them in the count for voters, even though they voted. Is that correct?

  10. Greg L said on 13 Jun 2007 at 7:43 pm:
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    That is correct. That portion of the alphabet should have provided three valid voters in the Civic Center precinct, but instead only one was recorded. When the votes were compared to the inaccurate list, it appeared that there was one overvote. Instead, there was actually one undervote, which would be a case of a valid delegate not staying until the voting was opened.

  11. AWCheney said on 13 Jun 2007 at 7:47 pm:
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    I understand your question Jonathan…and it begs the question, how many other people voted who were not, in fact, on the certified delegate list? If these two folks had been questioned, the error would have been discovered DURING the convention. That raises a whole lot of other issues.

  12. Greg L said on 13 Jun 2007 at 7:58 pm:
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    Those two people didn’t need to be questioned. They were properly credentialed and eligible to vote under the rules of the convention.

    The problem is that the list at the Civic Center precinct ballot box didn’t show the full total of properly credentialed voters. Now if they had a list of names and were checking them off (which I don’t believe was the case), then they would have noticed a discrepancy, and been able to correct the problem well before the votes were tallied.

    That may be what you meant to say, but I just want to make it clear that whoever these delegates were, they do not appear to have done anything at all wrong.

  13. AWCheney said on 13 Jun 2007 at 8:03 pm:
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    I wasn’t suggesting that at all Greg. By “questioning them,” I meant (as you said), that the discrepancy would have been noticed. This, of course, begs the question of how many people voted who were NOT on the certified delegate lists in that, and other, precincts.

  14. anon said on 13 Jun 2007 at 8:32 pm:
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    From James Young:

    “There were three precincts with overvotes.”

    Not exactly. There were three precincts with REPORTED overvotes.

    As we have seen, that is entirely different than three precincts WITH overvotes.

    I don’t think a count and recount and recount and yet another recount according to a different set of standards is being suggested here - as was the case in Florida.

    A simple retabulation in light of a glaring error is being suggested. This isn’t some minor glitch where a machine missed one or two votes out of a few hundred thousand cast. This is an error of 50%. One out of two votes was not counted.

    I think if 50% of Florida’s votes were missing, then Gore might have had a case.

    If something of this magnitude can’t be rectified, then really what is the point of voting at all. Just slap down some numbers willy-nilly on a form and be done with it. Clearly, it has been shown by this situation that reality has no basis in the outcome.

  15. Bryanna said on 13 Jun 2007 at 11:00 pm:
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    The convention needs to be thrown out! This is absolutely ridiculous. Kopko has single handedly hurt all PW Republicans! Enough is enough. After we fix this mess in the 51st, he needs to be thrown out, too!

  16. Loudoun Insider said on 13 Jun 2007 at 11:41 pm:
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    Is it not too late to switch Julie Lucas onto the ballot? This is absolutely unbelievable. I’m going to reference this post at TC to show folks in Loudoun what could have happened if we hadn’t shined so much light on these types of shenanigans. I have absolutely had it with conventions, there is simply way too much opportunity for this kind of bull. Voting Tuesday in a couple minutes was a walk in the park compared to 9 hours sweltering on Saturday.

    James Young no longer has any credibility whatsoever, and should get over his man crush on Faisal Gill. Greg, it must be so tempting to ban him completely, then no one would have to be subjected to his rantings, because they’re not going to be heading to his site.

  17. GOP Stalwart said on 14 Jun 2007 at 8:53 am:
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    Loudoun Insider — saw your post on TC… actually, as i understand it, the appeal has NOT gone to the 11CD yet. the 51st HOD “committee” (a.k.a. Mr. Kopko) has had it since Monday and until he makes his ruling, it cannot go to the next level. So, it would appear that “attack and stall” are the weapons of choice at this juncture.

  18. Mitch Cumstein said on 14 Jun 2007 at 9:33 am:
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    My understanding is that RPV gave Kopko 48 hours to deal with this situation. The current shake-up at RPV notwithstanding, I question to what lengths Kopko will go to thumb his nose at the State party in his effort to support his preferred candidate. Particularly after ignoring their recommendation with respect to the overvoted precincts.

  19. FedUp said on 14 Jun 2007 at 10:26 am:
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    Are these ballots and credentials information in a secure place? Can they be inspected by anyone other than Kopko and the candidates?

    It just seems to me that if it was available for inspection, all this bickering could be put to rest. The numbers will speak for themselves.

    I’m thinking it’s too late to change the nominee, but it might be a good idea to have all this looked over by lawyers who specialize in state and federal voting laws/rights acts to determine if Kopko has broken any laws or if there is cause for civil actions against him.

    Vote fraud and vote suppression are serious matters.

  20. Greg L said on 14 Jun 2007 at 10:34 am:
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    Virginia state law is absolutely silent on the party nominations process. Anything can happen at a party convention — you can exclude people on the basis of their race or sex, you can allow eight year olds to vote, you can dump a trash can full of fraudulent ballots into a ballot box right in front of the convention delegates while screaming “I’m stealing this election” at the top of your voice, and there’s nothing in Virginia law that says you can’t, or allows you to be penalized for it.

    The only issue that could be subject to Virginia law is whether voter registrations filed in support of delegate forms were fraudulent or not, since voter fraud in connection with registrations is definitely covered under Virginia’s laws.

  21. Hey Ho Kopko's Gotta Go said on 14 Jun 2007 at 10:44 am:
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    Tom Kopko. Has he done anything right? Since taking office:

    Many, Many long-time members have left, due to the atmosphere he and his crew have created.

    Membership is way down.

    Not all of the Magisterial District Chairs and precinct captain positions are filled.

    Steve Chapman, nuff said.

    He made a fool of himself with his conduct at the Davis/Hurst debate, which made all of the papers.

    Steve Chapman

    He provided no support to the Miller campaign in the PWC precincts in the 50th, chosing to focus all resources on the CBOCS race.

    Fasil Gill

    He provided no support to the Allen campaign for the same reason as above, and Allen lost the county, costing Allen Virginia, and the GOP lost control of the Senate.

    His treatment of Beauchamp caused her to run as an independent. Instead of this being decided in a convention, it will be decided in a 3-way general. This may cost McQuigg the election.

    The total goose-rodeo that the 51st convention has become.

    Fasil Gill

    Time to go Tom.

  22. FedUp said on 14 Jun 2007 at 10:57 am:
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    Well Greg, that’s what I was getting at. Federal courts have begun to weigh in on nominating contests since the Ollie North nominating convention. We can’t even require filing fees anymore because it is considered a “poll tax.” That was the case brought by a UVA law student.

    So, if someone’s civil rights were violated because of the way Kopko ran the nominating process, there is a case. There also must be at least one delegate who would have a civil claim against Kopko. Then the voting documents and his records on his financial arrangements with Gill’s campaign could finally see the light of day through a civil case.

    If I had been a delegate in any one of the 3 precincts in question, I would have the papers filed in both Federal Court and PWC Circuit Court already.

  23. God Bless America said on 14 Jun 2007 at 11:19 am:
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    What happened to the problem in Penn Precinct? Wasn’t there a report of something wrong discovered in that precinct too? Something that explains how the over vote happened?

  24. Jonathan Mark said on 14 Jun 2007 at 11:31 am:
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    Penn and Chinn precicts are the same. There is still an overvote there.

    Barbara Cummings here posted and said that she saw someone from another precinct vote in Chinn after having a discussion with Faisal Gill’s son.

  25. Barbara Cummings said on 14 Jun 2007 at 11:53 am:
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    No, JM Penn and PURCELL precincts are the same. Chinn is another precinct.

    Fedup, how would I go about filing papers in Federal Court and PWC Circuit Court? Do I need an attorney to do it? $$$?

    Please advise.

  26. Greg L said on 14 Jun 2007 at 12:25 pm:
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    I would suggest you get in touch with a public interest law firm on the subject. I doubt ACLU will take it, but there are a number of others which might.

  27. anon said on 14 Jun 2007 at 1:44 pm:
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    Your 10:34 comment is absolutely incorrect.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that party contests are governed by the Voting Rights Act.

    And in Virginia that is a very tight standard. Every process and procedure must be in writing and must be precleared.

    Deviation from approved procedure can be a violation of the Voting Rights Act.

  28. AWCheney said on 14 Jun 2007 at 1:48 pm:
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    “My understanding is that RPV gave Kopko 48 hours to deal with this situation.”

    I hope Julie kept copies of the entire package of evidence. A LOT of editing can happen in 48 hours and, given Kopko’s previous performances, “trustworthy” is not in either his character or job description.

  29. anon said on 14 Jun 2007 at 2:04 pm:
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    Here are just a few of the relevant passages of Morse v. Republican Party of Virginia. The Supreme Court is quite clear that activities of parties and at conventions fall directly under the purview of the Federal Voting Rights Act. There also does not need to “be” an overt act of discrimination in order for a violation to have occurred. A change in procedure which “could” have caused a violation is sufficient.

    “Section 5 of the Act requires preclearance of changes in “any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting.” Section 14 defines the terms “vote” or “voting” to include “all action necessary to make a vote effective in any primary, special, or general election, including, but not limited to, registration, listing pursuant to this subchapter, or other action required by law prerequisite to voting, casting a ballot, and having such ballot counted properly and included in the appropriate totals of votes cast with respect to candidates for public or party office and propositions for which votes are received in an election.” 42 U.S.C. § 1973l(c)(1) (1988 ed.).

    Although a narrow reading of the text of the Voting Rights Act might have confined the coverage of §5 to changes in election practices that limit individual voters’ access to the ballot in jurisdictions having authority to register voters, …, the Court has squarely rejected that construction. Shortly after the statute was passed, the Court thoroughly reviewed its legislative history and found that Congress intended §5 to have “the broadest possible scope” reaching “any state enactment which altered the election law of a covered State in even a minor way.” … We expressly held that “§5, like the constitutional provisions it is designed to implement, applies to all entities having power over any aspect of the electoral process within designated jurisdictions, not only to counties or to whatever units of state government perform the function of registering voters.”…

    We have consistently construed the Act to require preclearance of any change in procedures or practices that may bear on the “effectiveness” of a vote cast in “any primary, special, or general election.” 42 U.S.C. § 1973l(c)(1). Rules concerning candidacy requirements and qualifications, we have held, fall into this category because of their potential to “undermine the effectiveness of voters who wish to elect [particular] candidates.” … Changes in the composition of the electorate that votes for a particular office–that is, situations that raise the specter of vote dilution–also belong to this class because they could “nullify [voters’] ability to elect the candidate of their choice just as would prohibiting some of them from voting.” 393 U. S., at 569. This nexus between the changed practice and its impact on voting in the general election has been a recurring theme in our cases interpreting the Act. See Chisom v. Roemer, 501 U.S. 380, 397 (1991) (”Any abridgment of the opportunity of members of a protected class to participate in the political process inevitably impairs their ability to influence the outcome of an election”). In its reenactments and extensions of the Act, moreover, Congress has endorsed these broad constructions of §5. See, e.g., S. Rep. No. 97-417, pp. 6-7, and n. 8 (1982).

    Delegate qualifications are in fact more closely tied to the voting process than practices that may cause vote dilution, whose coverage under §5 we have repeatedly upheld. Virginia, like most States, has effectively divided its election into two stages, the first consisting of the selection of party candidates and the second being the general election itself. See United States v. Classic, 313 U. S., at 316. Exclusion from the earlier stage, as two appellants in this case experienced, does not merely curtail their voting power, but abridges their right to vote itself. To the excluded voter who cannot cast a vote for his or her candidate, it is all the same whether the party conducts its nomination by a primary or by a convention open to all party members except those kept out by the filing fee. Each is an “integral part of the election machinery.” Id., at 318.

    The text of §2 also makes apparent the Act’s intended coverage of nonprimary nomination methods. Section 2, which bans any “voting qualification or prerequisite” that discriminates on account of race or color, considers a violation to have occurred if “the political processes leading to nomination or election in the State or political subdivision are not equally open to participation by members of [groups protected by the Act] in that its members have less opportunity than other members of the electorate to participate in the political process and to elect representatives of their choice.” 42 U.S.C. § 1973(b) (1988 ed.) (emphasis added). Under the broad sweep of this language, exclusion from a nominating convention would qualify as a violation. Section 2 “adopts the functional view of `political process’ ” and applies to “any phase of the electoral process.” S. Rep. 97-417, p. 30, and n. 120 (1982).

  30. anon said on 14 Jun 2007 at 2:13 pm:
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    In Loudoun, the “powers that be” proposed having a separate inquiry area where some people would have to recite the pledge. RPV put a stop to this. It would have been a violation of the Voting Rights Act. The procedures in place clearly state that you sign that form pledging and that you agree to state the same IN OPEN MEETING if requested. There is nowhere in the approved process to pull people aside and interrogate them.

    Loudoun also sent out these nifty cards on which delegates were to RSVP. Again, possible Voting Rights Act violation. That is not a part of the approved process. RPV put the hammer down on that too. It doesn’t not matter whether LCRC’s “intent” was noble or not - it is a deviation from approved procedure, and therefore prohibited.

    As I understand it, there was a PWC delegate called and questioned about his/her pledge to support Republicans - and then subsequently disqualified. That is violation of the Voting Rights Act. Our approved procedure does not entail calling people up and interrogating them about their allegiances. If the committee questioned this person’s sincerity, the only recourse would be to follow the rules and require the pledge to be stated in open meeting. If the person in question then refused to do that, then he/she could and should be disqualified.

  31. anon said on 14 Jun 2007 at 2:29 pm:
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    I just wanted to clarify that the posts at 2:04 and 2:13 are from the same person, me.

    I left out the end quote on the first post. That whole post is a quote, with the exception of my intro paragraph.

  32. John Light said on 14 Jun 2007 at 8:03 pm:
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    Ok, I just HAVE to say it…Jim Young and Faisal Gill = Sore/Loserman!!!!

  33. freedom said on 15 Jun 2007 at 8:28 am:
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    Oh John….you forgot one thing. Tom Kopko will not allow that to happen, evidence be damned! …besides, John, what is a “consultant” good for, if ya can’t count on ‘em when ya need some “consult”?

  34. Bryanna said on 16 Jun 2007 at 1:49 am:
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    Kopko taking Gills money was bad news in the beginning but now that the 51st convention has been tampered with, the money is even more suspicious. Seems the arrogance of the Bush administration has trickled down south to Prince William. It’s time to run these boys out of town! Kopko, Gill-ary and all his Democratic friends from across America. Sharia Law has no place here.

  35. anon said on 16 Jun 2007 at 10:33 am:
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    I saw a McCain bumper sticker and Gill bumper sticker on the same car. Just like Gill says he is against illegal immigration, He would try to give amnesty to them just to make them legal.

  36. GOP Stalwart said on 16 Jun 2007 at 3:05 pm:
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    Johnathan Mark - saw your post on GoodbyeKen. I think the 11CD website is outdated as far as the membership roster goes. There have been some recent changes like Lundberg resigning (the new Fairfax Co chairman took his place) that don’t appear to have been made. Might want to check on that. Wow, has this thing gotten out of control. Instead of being about rules and procedures and honest math errors, it’s become flat out character asassination. What a sorry state of affairs.

  37. Jonathan Mark said on 16 Jun 2007 at 5:01 pm:
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    Thanks for the info, Stalwart!

  38. Harry said on 18 Jun 2007 at 6:20 am:
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    With Julie filing for the school board, looks like she isn’t optimistic about winning her appeal. Why doesn’t she just concede, mend fences and move on?

  39. anon said on 18 Jun 2007 at 9:48 am:
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    re: 6:20 am,

    Because sometimes there is a bigger issue at stake.

    I think it is highly unlikely that Gill will be overturned as party nominee. However, that doesn’t mean that the process was clean and honest — there are things that took place in the convention that need to see the light of day. People need to know what happened. And they need to know that a lot of it was not legal. And that there ARE eyes watching from now on. LCRC seems to have learned that little lesson without having to go thru this exercise.

  40. AWCheney said on 18 Jun 2007 at 10:56 am:
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    That’s exactly right anon, there is no way Julie is doing this for herself…the simplist thing to do would be to walk away. It would not, however, be the most honorable. She is doing this for the sake of the future of the Republican Party in PWC, and anybody who doesn’t see that is either a fool or part of the problem. Perhaps some people should be spending less time condemning her for it and more time demanding the truth lead to changes which will prevent this sort of fiasco from ever happening again.

  41. Jonathan Mark said on 18 Jun 2007 at 12:17 pm:
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    Stalwart, I just spoke with someone at the 11th District committee about the membership changes. Rumberg replaces Hawley, Hyland replaced Lundberg, and Beatrice Lee is the new Young Republicans rep.

    I corrected the article that you mentioned. Hopefully these fine ladies and gentlemen if not Tom Kopko will redress the theft of the nomination by Gill’s overvoting minions.

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